Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has stepped into the battle over 2,000 jobs at Travelers Life & Annuity.[@@]

MetLife Inc., New York, is in the process of acquiring the Hartford-based operation from Citigroup Inc., New York, for $11.5 billion in cash and stock, and it announced earlier this week that it may offer only 1,400 “ongoing positions” to Travelers’ employees.

Blumenthal, a Democrat, now says he plans to appear before the Connecticut Department of Insurance to oppose the MetLife-Travelers Life deal.

“This acquisition is against the public interest because it will destroy jobs, damage our economy and disadvantage families,” Blumenthal says in a statement. “My message to MetLife is simple: Keep jobs in Hartford or keep your hands off Travelers.”

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, announced Monday that she may see what she can do to intervene with state insurance regulators to save jobs at Travelers.

The Connecticut department has not yet scheduled a hearing on the acquisition. Kathleen Kiernan-Pagani, a department spokeswoman, says the department sent MetLife an 11-page list of questions Tuesday and is waiting for more information from MetLife. Once MetLife completes the application, Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Susan Cogswell will have 30 days to schedule a hearing on the application.

The Connecticut department has asked MetLife for more information about the assets included in the deal, a description of how the MetLife and Travelers Life businesses complement each other and an explanation of why the acquisition is in the public interest.

Meanwhile, Andrew Kligerman, an analyst with UBS Investment Research, New York, has warned that pressure from Connecticut regulators could keep MetLife from cutting enough Travelers Life jobs to make the deal pay off.

Earlier this week, MetLife said it has been trying to find a middle ground between the advocates and opponents of job cuts.

MetLife has been trying to limit its comments about Blumenthal’s opposition to the Travelers Life deal.

“We’re not going to get into a media discussion with the attorney general,” says MetLife spokesman John Calagna. “Our only comment is we remain confident our proposal to buy Travelers will be approved by the [Connecticut Department of Insurance].”